Donald Trump’s election victory is driving “domestic terrorism” in the US that is expected to continue amid anger over issues including gun control and abortion, officials have warned.
A field report by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) intelligence branch and analysts in North Carolina found that negative adverts and political rhetoric during the campaign “contributed to the incitement” of violent and criminal incidents.
“DHS assesses that anger over the results of the 2016 Presidential election continues to be a driver of domestic terrorist violence throughout the United States,” it said.
“While criticism and dissenting views of the government is protected activity, some individuals have engaged in violent or unlawful action to express these views.”
Incidents highlighted in North Carolina included an arson attack on a Republican campaign office in Hillsborough, the firing of a BB gun at another headquarters and graffiti reading “Nazi Republicans leave town or else”.
A man was arrested on federal terrorism charges for allegedly phoning a Republican Party office in Henderson County with a bomb threat, which sparked a security lockdown.
The report did not list locally reported incidents targeting a Democratic office in Carrboro, which was tagged with the words “death to capitalism”, or the appearance of a message reading “Black Lives Don’t Matter and neither does your votes” on a wall in Durham.
Analysts said that although the election was considered the main driver of violence, they could not discount the possibility of a “variety of political targets” being affected throughout 2017.
“We assess there may be other factors or occurrences that could foment further criminal acts and violence against political entities,” the report warned, listing factors including legislation on abortion rights, LGBT rights, environmental concerns, gun control and Obamacare, as well as “negative publicity surrounding voting registration in North Carolina” during the presidential election.
The US Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.
Mr Trump has not used the term to refer to his opponents while hitting out at demonstrations, accusing participants of being “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters”.
After millions of people joined the worldwide Women’s March in protests stretching from Washington to Sydney, the President jibed: “Was under the impression that we just had an election…celebs hurt cause badly.”
He later backtracked, tweeting: “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognise the rights of people to express their views.”
Several demonstrations in the wake of his election victory have turned violent, with participants blaming a minority of “black bloc” activists for vandalism and police making several arrests.
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